5 Ways to Become a Master of Pop Culture

pop culture photoMany PR pros already know the importance of paying attention to the mainstream news, but equally important is pop culture. Why? It’s critical to follow trends and understand what holds people’s attention. For instance, knowing what subjects generate huge discussions makes pitching reporters easier because they feel you know their audience.

However, it’s difficult to make time for pop culture when you have a busy schedule. So, to help make the process of consuming pop culture more enjoyable here are five ways to use it intelligently and productively.

Automate Your Pop Culture Content

The first step to overcoming your resistance to pop culture is making the process painless. One way we’ve highlighted before is to identify keywords and then set up Google Alerts. Pick some pop culture trends that you want to understand better, so the relevant content gets delivered to your inbox daily. Even if you don’t have time to read articles or watch videos, just scanning the headlines every morning keep the content fresh in your mind.

Study Pop Culture Trends

Once you’ve gotten a grasp of pop culture from reading your Google Alerts, it’s time to do some additional research. Check websites like Buzzfeed and read the stories that are trending like Disney Princesses, 90s nostalgia and Chipotle. While you may not care for Justin Beiber and the Kardashians, it’s important to get some context on why people talk about them. Also, don’t forget to read the comments and see which subjects go viral the most. You can also use your phone or tablet to download apps like PEOPLE Celebrity News Tracker and others to get a better idea of what’s popular.

Make a Weekly Commitment

To stay consistent subscribe to weekly news roundup from your favorite publications and get relevant content sent to you every Friday. Also, consider listening to a weekly podcast, like NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, which talks about pop culture in depth with regular guests. When selecting TV shows to watch remember it’s not necessarily the most popular ones that generate the most discussion so pay attention to niche ones too. Reality TV can be helpful too because you get a better read on how people think and what influences their behavior. Finally, if you’re time is extremely limited, an easy fix is to watch The Soup for a 30-minute humorous weekly recap of pop culture.

Understand Where Pop Culture is Going

Working in tech PR means you must anticipate future trends so you can prepare for them and gain an advantage over your competitors. For example, one film people are talking about regularly and especially in Silicon Valley is Ex Machina. The film offers a captivating look at the future of artificial intelligence and how it potentially could impact our working society. While Ex Machina might not end up being accurate, it’s exciting to get an idea of what possibilities the future hold for tech like how Star Trek predated the invention of cell phones. Besides consuming pop culture get involved and interact with people online. On Twitter, reddit and other online forums people form a community and discuss subjects that are important them. If you can identify what’s trending in the community before it hits the mainstream news, you’ll always have an advantage over your peers.

Pick Something Uncomfortable

Many people already consume common forms of pop culture like TV, music and film, without even thinking about it. However, it helpful to expose yourself to other aspects of pop culture that you may not even consider. For instance, the video game Minecraft is a culture phenomenon. Consider trying it or watching videos on YouTube to understand why Minecraft resonates with people and why Microsoft acquired it for $2.5 billion. Other pop culture ideas to think about, why are so many people into live streaming? What films subjects are overrated and underrated?

By implementing these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pop culture expert in no time and leave your peers in the dust.

 I wrote this blog originally for BOCA Communications.

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